I’m in a pretty heavy season in my life right now. A few weeks ago, I made the decision to attend an intensive healing class for women who have been sexually abused. (And yes, there is a similar class offered for men.)
I don’t talk much about the abuse I’ve been through and I definitely don’t intend to lay it all out here. However, there’s some major takeaways that I’ve been processing through.
For those of you who have read my blog for any amount of time, you know my whole heart has been to plant a church. When I was young, before the abuse occurred, I wanted to literally be a church. I wanted to be made of stained glass windows and have people sit in my pews. I wanted potlucks in my courtyard and to feel music flowing in and out of me.
It was all I ever wanted.
But my world came crashing down at the tender age of 8, when my mother informed me that I could not be a pastor.
Flash forward to age 18. I was bright-eyed, bushy-tailed. Fresh on the heels of a revitalizing summer week spent in California at a church camp. I had aspirations to be a missionary.
This was the core of who I was. This tender-hearted girl, desperate to serve God in full-time ministry.
That dream came crashing down as well, the year I found out mission boards do not send people with disabilities overseas.
I cried out to a big and powerful God. How could I have such a willing heart to go out and make disciples but doors closed at every turn?
I was faithful after receiving yet another closed door. I have served in the church, volunteered in the prisons and discipled other women. I was doing all the right things. I thought, anyway.
My heart broke when I thought of my closed doors. It was in the midst of that hurt that someone suggested that maybe the doors were closed so that God could reveal to me what I truly desired.
Was it Him? Or was it ministry?
The biggest thing sexual abuse has robbed me of is my sense of self. While there has been tremendous healing in many areas, there are parts of me I still don’t understand. And everybody has an opinion, all of which have fallen flat. There are some things only God and I understand about me, mostly because I am a master of omission.
I don’t doubt my desire to plant a church is genuine but I question my unwillingness to cultivate the gifts God has given me. Have I grown the fruits of the Spirit? Yes. But have I taken the time to cultivate the more industrious gifts God has given me? My ability to public speak? My ability to learn coding? Develop curriculum? Write creatively?
I haven’t. Not really. I have natural gifts that I have neglected to grow roots in and my career is a reflection of that. I spent so much time seeking ministry that I failed to connect stewardship with the talents God had given me.
As I walk through the healing process of sexual abuse, I find myself recognizing parts of myself I have ignored. It’s like meeting myself all over again.
For the sake of your eternal life, develop the roots of the gifts God has given you here. There’s a purpose for how you’re wired, both on this earth and in heaven. For His glory and your good.